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War Horse A Review and an Analysis of the Original Soundtrack Album

War Horse John Williams review analysis Themes

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#1 Incanus

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 07:17 AM

Here is my analysis of the soundtrack album that appears on the main page as well and in addition a thematic breakdown with track times. Comments, observations and corrections are as welcome as always:

War Horse – A review and an analysis of the Original Soundtrack Album
By Mikko Ojala (Incanus)


The upcoming film War Horse is the 25th collaboration between director Steven Spielberg and composer John Williams. The movie is based on a popular children’s novel by author, poet and playwright Michael Morpurgo and tells of a young English boy Albert and his extraordinary friendship with his horse Joey, set in the times of WW I. It is a story of courage, loyalty and friendship told through the eyes of a horse. John Williams' score for the film is a beautiful and powerful achievement and as Steven Spielberg himself in the liner notes of the album says, Williams seems indeed be blessed by earth and heaven both with continuing inspiration and talent. And if this CD is anything to go by we can still be the beneficiaries of this inspiration through the War Horse soundtrack album.

Williams has once again created a beautiful tapestry of music, diverse yet feeling like it forms a coherent whole, thematic ideas sharing often common musical base. And because of this the score feels like an world unto itself. The composer’s self professed love for English music is very evident in this score and indeed the first stylistic influence that came to my mind when hearing this music was Ralph Vaughan Williams, maestro who is almost synonymous with English music and whose musical style Williams seems to channel through his own sensibilities very strongly, never resorting to pastiché but rather evocation and allusion. English folk music seems another inspiration, much as it was to Vaughan Williams, the lilting melodies and progressions dancing from Williams’ pen with fluid ease. And then there are the somewhat maligned Celtic music influences, the detractors indignant that such musical ideas should be present in music that should depict Englishness, since Celtic music apparently shares very few commonalities with English music but in the score, to the layman’s ears, this Celtic sound enhances the time and place quite strongly, lending the music further lyricism and warmth.

So all the above Williams mixes with his own unmistakable voice resulting in a score full of powerful emotional music that has also quiet majesty and scope, conjuring up the natural world, English countryside and rustic life style in a sweeping lyrical way. And working as a counterweight to this is the often intense music for the war, unrelenting rhythms and harsh orchestral writing driving home the ugliness of battle. The elegiac writing of the war scenes is yet again classic Williams, somber yet moving, subtle nuances often carrying a lot of emotional weight, even the most rousing battle material tinged always with mournful tones of the tragedies of war.

An interesting phenomenon with this score is that it feels extremely familiar, the traits and stylings of Williams’ writing very evident and I could cite several scores from his oeuvre this score might bring to mind yet somehow there is a strong emotional charge to every aspect of it, the string elegies, the dramatic war music, the pastoral writing, humourous music, intimate dramatic writing and folk melodies so that they feel fresh and new, ready to be discovered yet again. It sounds like there was true inspiration at work in the score for War Horse. The recording is as excellent as in his previous score The Adventures of Tintin, bringing out the orchestral depth and colour, nuances and the soloists with equal wonderful vibrancy.

As with many of Williams’ dramatic scores instrumental solos carry an important role in the music. Highlighted are in particular the flute and trumpet that reflect the different sides of the story, the flute usually speaking to the bucolic country life and peace, the trumpet to the war, both the nobility and the sorrow. Clarinet, oboe and cor anglais lend themselves also to the reflections of the natural world and English countryside and French horns’ tones give a sheen of afternoon sun and familial warmth but also nobility to the story. Alas my review copy is without liner notes but my guess is that the performing duties of these solos are most likely assigned to the studio musicians who frequently collaborate on Williams' soundtrack albums, Timothy Morrison on solo trumpet, Louise DiTullio on solo flute and James Thatcher solo horn.


The Themes

As I have not seen the film yet my thematic speculation is exactly that, more of my own impression of what these musical ideas seem to represent dramatically to me on the album. Also similarly all guesses concerning the dramaturgy of the music are my own based on what I have heard about the film and the music.

War Horse contains a whole plethora of thematic ideas, reflecting quite clearly Williams’ own reported enthusiasm for the film. The English countryside and Narracott family, Joey and Albert among others all receive their own themes in this score.

1. War Horse Main Theme (Bonding Theme): A warm, majestic, rising and falling melody representing the bond between Albert and Joey that carries a strong emotional charge. Initially Williams uses this theme as the boy and the horse form their bond as they work and live together on the Narracott farm but by the end of the score it becomes a noble and poignant expression of their mutual affection, a heart warming theme for true friendship. The warm, rising Bonding theme receives a complementary melodic phrase later in the story and on the album which could be called

2. Friendship Theme: This theme sounds like a natural continuation of the Bonding Theme, almost like it is completing the melodic phrase started the Bonding Theme. A noble, directly emotional, hymn like piece that speaks perhaps to the deepened friendship Joey has with Albert but also to friendships the horse has formed during his journeys. Williams conjures a homely feel of safety and love with this theme although there is a subtle undercurrent of yearning in it as well.

3. Discovery Theme : An ethereal, mysterious Celtic flavoured melody which perhaps depicts the first encounter between Albert and Joey and appears again towards the end of the album.

4. Dartmoor Theme: An English sounding melody for the locale of Dartmoor of full lush orchestral writing, evoking all at once green rolling hills and other pastoral landscapes bathed by perpetual sunlight. Closest cousin to this music in Williams' own repertoire would be the Irish evocations in Far and Away and his expansive sounding Americana writing for numerous movies.

5. Nature Theme: This is a Celtic tinged melody also infused with the spirit of Vaughan Williams and is often performed by solo flute and reverent strings. The theme seems to speak of the natural world and its beauty, its progressions stately, slow and majestic.

6. Narracotts Theme (Farm Work): A jauntier folk song melody full of lilting English stylings that accompanies the Narracotts and their work on the farm. Reaches its most powerful rendition during the track called Plowing.

7. Playful Horse: Another English folk music evocation, a playful and almost jig-like theme for the humour and lighter moments of the story.

8. War Theme: A lonely trumpet call, reminiscent of Williams’ similar work in JFK, Born on the Fourth of July and Amistad, this theme represents what I think is the actual war horse aspect of the main character, echoing like a bugle on the field of battle over a snare drum cadence, fateful,denoting also the central element of the story, war, noble and mournful at the same time.

9. Joey’s New Friends Theme: Another lyrical thematic idea for friends Joey meets during his journeys. A peaceful, innocent and haunting, this idea appears only twice on the album.


Track-by-track analysis:

1. Dartmoor, 1912
The score opens on clear solo flute, Louise DiTullio wonderfully intoning the Nature Theme joined by warm and stately strings, full of Celtic lilt evoking majesty of the land itself. The flute continues developing the theme, clear and pure sound speaking to the serene country landscapes and natural world’s strength. An accordion appears to offer some rustic commentary establishing the time and place perhaps but soon the sprightly rhythmic tugging of double basses and celli surges forward and the folk song-like Narracotts Theme is heard on flutes with woodwind doubling. Trumpet section supports the melody with delightfully busy staccato motif while the strings continue their own rhythmic idea, Williams providing what sounds like travel music until at 2:10 the Dartmoor Theme bursts into view with full ensemble presenting this sunny lyrical idea in all its glory. After a brief interlude of Vaughan Williamsian string work the traveling variation of Narracotts Theme continues and for the second time climbs into a statement of the Dartmoor theme.

This piece is like an excellent overture, giving us a taste of things to come and I love how Williams conjures the feel and colours of English countryside so strongly in his music, the score truly evocative here. Closest equivalent in WIlliams' catalogue but only with strong Americana feel would be the opening music from Patriot.


2. The Auction
A swaying expectant string figure is soon joined by a 7-note thematic idea, an early version of the Playful Horse Theme, on clarinet, bassoon and flutes that dances forth almost mischievously. Williams adds more instruments in and passes the melody around the orchestra, providing steady development of the motif along the way. The whole piece has a feel of growing anticipation as it is underscoring an auction and orchestrations finally grow heavier as some moment of decision is reached. Maestro is building up suspense but does it with great humour and distinctive orchestration and melodies which I think he does better than anyone, raising the piece from being a bit of underscore to being an active part of the storytelling, the music not even needing the images to let you know different little twists and turns that take place in the story. At 1:56 a new swaying harp figure and a melody on clarinets, flutes and horns appears obviously denoting that something significant is again happening. The strings take up the swaying idea subtly raising their voice until at 2:52 a variation on the Nature Theme is heard, the lilting theme further elaborated by horns, a sense of probing and curiosity on high strings and flutes entering just before harp finishes the piece tentatively.


3. Bringing Joey Home, and Bonding
Rhythmic low strings, celli and doublebasses, present a jaunty little march that is accented by woodwinds, creating at once a sense of determination and comedy, the little melody developed in the low strings as it progresses forward with stops and starts until at 1 minute mark solo flute appears, performing the Dartmoor Theme in dreamy rendition. This section is repeated, the jaunty theme and the Dartmoor Theme working in almost question and answer fashion, the little march getting weightier now joined by violins but then over a bass pedal sound another new theme appears, the Discovery Theme on solo flute, rising ethereally, beautifully lyrical and haunting, underscoring most likely the first close encounter of the boy and the horse. Oboe answers the theme with a warm melody of its own, the writing classic Williams. This has to be despite scant few appearances one of my favourite themes of this score so full of wonderful thematic ideas. There is youth, fragility and vulnerability but also dreamy ethereal quality to the music that is enchanting. It could well describe a child's fascination with an animal. After the oboe solo a nostalgic clarinet follows suite and flows into the first statement of the Bonding Theme on warm harp, strings and horns speaking of the importance of the moment, the first bond between the two, and clarinet returns to soothingly end the theme.

At 3:52 a rather skittish and bumbling oboe line appears, followed around by woodwinds, pizzicati strings and basses making rhythmic tugs, clarinet wandering into a humorous finish. This short piece sounds like Williams in his trademark style scoring the young horse's clumsy movements with light good natured humour.


4. Learning the Call
Pastoral strings and harp and dreamy clarinet offer a brief moment of bucolic colour until another swaying string idea jumps into a reading of the Bonding Theme on warm horns with a delightful swirling string counterpoint. Rhythmic excited tugging in the string section and bubbling woodwinds lead the orchestra into a development of the Playful Horse Theme previously heard on track 2, which dances forth like an English folk song, the orchestrations passing the melody around the different instrumental groupings, the double basses providing lively momentum to the music. Vertical rhythmic string figures that were heard on the opening track and the same busy trumpet accompaniment are also reprised here as the Narracotts Theme appears, Williams combining it here with Playful Horse Theme, both themes dancing briefly around each other.


5. Seeding, and Horse vs. Car
Serene strings, clarinet and harp rise and fall in peaceful luminous setting, the string section finally performing the Nature Theme full of warmth, majesty and reverence. Clarinet and solo oboe over celli sings out a pastoral melody of Celtic flavour that sounds like it is build on the Nature Theme’s contours, both instruments ruminating peacefully in almost nostalgic fashion, flute and horns sounding for a brief interlude. Another oboe solo which to me sounds very close to Williams’ nature and tree inspired concert compositions melts suddenly into the string section taking up again the boisterous rhythmic motif from track 1 and 4 that lifts the orchestra into a joyous burst of the Dartmoor Theme, the galloping of a horse most vividly illustrated by the music, the exhilaration of race now reflected first in the Playful Horse Theme and then in the Narracotts Theme underscoring both Joey and Albert, the orchestra dashing into a brilliant finale that recalls Williams classic horse riding scherzos from the Cowboys and The Reivers Suite.


6. Plowing
Despite the rather rustic title this track is truly a standout piece. The Narracotts Theme on clarinets over a deep contrabassoon and doublebass rhythm starts a long development of the thematic idea, the insistent motion of the strings conjuring up the steady, determined nature of the farm work. Williams starts to embellish the melody and the rhythm with different instruments and slowly but surely it grows, ebbing and flowing until 1:20 when a new noble theme appears, seemingly celebrating the honest work and country life that builds into a grand statement of the Bonding Theme, flute over the up-and-down swaying strings, Narracotts Theme appearing again now mingled with the snatches of the Bonding Theme, the Dartmoor Theme fleetingly passing under the two themes until the rhythmic motif of the basses returns with strong readings of the Narracotts Theme on woodwinds and horns that opens up into the most powerful and majestic reading of the Bonding Theme on the album at 3:33 the melody rising on proud resounding horns with the accompanying string figures reaching higher and higher and finally united with the Dartmoor Theme in a pure and unabashed celebration of countryside and simple life and the bond that is forming between the boy and his horse. After the majesty of the thematic statements has faded into near silence solo flute’s crystal clear voice playing what sounds like a ruminating variation on the Nature Theme and warm horn and string textures brings this orchestral set piece to a truly satisfying conclusion.

This is without a doubt one of the most satisfying tracks on the entire album. Williams’ build-up throughout the piece is masterful, the expansive sound he conjures truly a celebration of nature in musical form. The full statement of the Bonding Theme (this version is the one heard also in the trailers) is a truly classic Williams moment of spine tingling grandeur and warm humanity, showing once again how he knows how to capture the human heart and aspirations in his music.


7. Ruined Crop, and Going to War
Mournful trio of oboe, clarinet and bassoon seems to depict quiet loss and resignation, almost elegiac strings adding to the emotionality of the piece. The duet and the string theme is reprised but soon taken over by a fateful sounding figure in the string section that mounts in strength with murmuring brass appearing underneath, underscoring the direness of the situation.

A new section begins with a nostalgic and emotional reading of the Bonding Theme but is soon supplanted by a new theme for Joey, as he goes to war, Williams presenting almost formally a solo trumpet idea of the War Theme that seems to speak both for the war and men in it but also for Joey himself. The tones are noble and clear but the melody carries with it a mournful fatality and somberness as it echoes over a snare drum cadence. As said above in the thematic overview the theme is one in a long tradition of Williams' trumpet themes for war and military, a dichotomy of heroism and loss.


8. The Charge and Capture
The previous track segues to this one without pause. High strings support a clear trumpet call reminiscent of the War Theme in its style almost like a bugle before the battle, carrying with it a steely resolve. Snare drum and whirring, buzzing string patterns emerge and start a wild nervous gallop, deep dark brass making exclamations undernearth, rhythmic strings growing insistenly louder with dissonant brass choirs from both sides of the orchestra screaming, promising carnage. This is war at its most brutal. The orchestral chaos grows and grows, finally stripped down to the galloping rhythm and then only to sorrowful strings, the War Theme echoing over the bleak soundscape on solo trumpet. Reverently sad brass and string elegy slowly starts in the orchestra, the melody trying to continue but soon subsides exhausted.


9. The Desertion
Similarly gloomy high strings and low woodwinds that accompanied the previous track open this one, the disheartening tragedy of war clear in their tones until a fast rhythmic figure kindles in the string section and begins a breathless race through the orchestra, a repeating angular motif emerging through the writing, augmented by growing brass providing rapid staccato figures, cymbals making tight bursts. This is not joyous music for a gallop in the sun, this is a head long flight full of terror and panic. And slowly the escape music dies down but encounters the grieving sounds of strings, elegiac once more full of deep sadness as if to say that war is something you cannot outrun. Noteworthy here is that Williams creates the kinetic pull of the piece through the use of string section and brass alone, percussion, so common in most modern scores as the providers of momentum playing a minimal part which is a wonderful change of pace and a smart move from Williams.


10. Joey’s New Friends
A calm, ethereal flute solo comes to offer brief solace from the horrors of war, joined by a second flute, dueting quietly, strings accompanying subtly the melody representing Joey’s New Friends, warm and comforting. Humorously optimistic and determined horn melody with a clarinet bubbling in the background seems to indicate a positive turn in the events. Soon another new melody dances forth on woodwinds, harp and happy strings, quick, dexterous and light, alternating with rather comedic interludes for brass and woodwinds, painting a light and bright hued picture of momentary respite from fear and toil.

An excellent piece of music offering some needed humour and lightness to the proceedings in the middle of the heavier and dramatic war tracks. Reminds me of some of the lyrical lighter moment in Terminal score and curiously enough Heartbeeps.


11. Pulling the Cannon
Heavy rhythm on double basses indicates danger, toil, hardship and struggle, the music continually growing around the rhythm, pacing slowly but inexorably forward, the tugging of the menacing strings leading into a noble reading of the War Theme again on the signature sound of the theme, a solo trumpet. From this grows a dramatic, tragic piece for the whole orchestra, different sections creating a sense of mounting struggle. Fatal brass, strings and percussion and low end piano do battle with each other, snare drum providing military pacing amidst the orchestral war. At 2:37 the battle subsides leaving in its wake a touching string elegy where glowing strings perform with grace and subtlety, even their smallest gestures heartbreaking.


12. (Spoiler)
The tone of the previous cue continues here, the tragedy and gentle sorrow mixing into one in another string led piece. Solo clarinet comes in midway through, subtly poignant, the strings taking up its notes and rising slowly into a full orchestra crescendo of heart breaking proportions.


13. No Man’s Land
This track is like a fast dash through the fields of war, breathless and rousing but also unsettling at the same time. Williams' music has irresistible emotional and kinetic pull that once it starts does not let go until the end.
Cold high string tones screetch and unsettle, harp wandering ghostly amidst their dissonant textures for a good while like over fields of the dead. At 1:52 the orchestra bursts into action with a resounding piano and double bass crash, snare drum and racing string figures providing pace for another race, this time perhaps for freedom. Woodwinds and brass join the performance, the percussion adding their weight to the escape, the brass tones heroic, victorious and fanfaric, the War Theme appearing in the middle of the charge that builds towards a dramatic crescendo of furiously fast orchestral forces. The momentum is finally stopped by deeply violent string figures and pouding rumbles of a grand piano that slowly die down into silence.


14. (Spoiler)
The music opens with the Discovery theme as ethereal as we heard for the first time on track 3, but here played delicately on piano and then the strings take up the Bonding Theme in a wonderfully gentle fashion the melody extended here by Maestro with a poignant passage for strings, flute subtly appearing under the theme’s texture. Solo oboe and warm dreamy horns propel us to another reading of the Bonding Theme rich with noble brass writing, string jumping higher with their accompanying figures, truly emotional in their restrained performance, Williams infusing them with feeling of much grander reading of the thematic material. The Friendship Theme, a perfect continuation of the Bonding Theme, appears if to announce us that all is well, the soothing, yearning tones here fully at peace.

This is for me the best piece of the entire score, summing up the emotional strength of the main thematic ideas and bringing them around a full circle. The restrained yet highly powerful performance has an air of serene peace and fulfillment without the music becoming too saccharine or maudlin. A perfect balance.


15. (Spoiler), and Finale
The Bonding Theme is heard on flutes this time, the sound warm and peaceful, continuing the tone of the previous track. Soothing strings and horns create a homely and comforting mood when at 1:19 solo flute appears from that texture, playing the Joey’s New Friends theme, tender and delicate. Harp and strings continue, horns quoting the Bonding Theme’s opening before solo piano gives a lyrical and emotionally direct statement of the Friendship Theme, the instrument all at once nostalgic and homely, poignancy of the story fully captured in the melody’s contours. This is further enhanced as the strings take up the Friendship Theme next rising into an emotional peak of the piece, repeating the Bonding Theme on horns with the rising strings infused with the sense of fulfillment. And as the piece draws to a close Williams makes a wonderful dramatic gesture by having the War Theme appear on clear solo trumpet with flutes quoting the Bonding Theme’s rising and falling figures quietly underneath, both aspects of Joey coming together in the end.


16. The Homecoming
For the film’s end credits Williams has written one of his classic extended suites, gathering up all the major themes of the score and developing them in different ways. Featured are The Playful Horse Theme, The Nature Theme, Dartmoor Theme, The Narracotts Theme and finally the Bonding and Friendship Theme.

The music opens with the Narracotts Theme on solo flute, which is featured throughout the suite and then the music quickly dances forward to a variation of the Playful Horse Theme with its rhythmic double bass figure, the composer developing the theme beyond what we have just heard on the album, the idea becoming almost a sprightly jig for a symphony orchestra. At 2:21 solo flute returns to perform the Celtic flavoured Nature’s Theme which is then taken up by the strings, the orchestra exploring the majestic slow thematic idea until it joins aptly to The Dartmoor theme that is intoned on lovely solo flute over warm strings, alternating with the Narracotts Theme. A brief boisterous strings interlude with shades of the Playful Horse Theme then flows into a lovely combination of the Bonding Theme and the Friendship Theme, now singing beautifully with the help of the entire string section, making a final truly emotional statement of Albert’s and Joey’s friendship. But quite fitting the music ends where it started, the Nature Theme, solo flute carrying in its ancient and revenrent tones the piece into a beautiful, serene finish.



The soundtrack album feels like a well paced journey, a coherent dramatic arc from the bucolic country life to the horrors of war and back again, the final few tracks embracing friendship, peace and sense of closure. All the large and small instrumental touches reflecting the story, its majesty, humanity, playfulness, the brutal futility of war, friendship, the beauty of earth itself come together to form a beautiful whole, unfolding in just 65 minutes, a perfect length presentation of the music.

For me this score represents all that is best in John Williams’ music: the thematic brilliance, the mastery of orchestral colours and orchestration and the inherent emotionality of his music.

Thematic breakdown
The Main Theme (Bonding Theme):
Track 3: 3:18-3:49
Track 4: 0:29-0:42
Track 6:
2:02-2:12
3:33-3:56
Track 7: 2:08-2:30
Track 14:
0:37-1:07
2:18-3:04
Track 15:
0:10-0:45
1:58-2:07
3:46-4:24
Track 16: 5:28-6:17

The Friendship Theme:
Track 14: 3:05-end
Track 15: 2:08-3:45
Track 16: 6:17-7:19

The Discovery Theme:
Track 3: 2:16-2:40
Track 14: 0:00-0:34

Nature Theme:
Track 1: 0:00-0:54
Track 2: 2:52-3:07
Track 5: 0:32-0:58
Track 6: 4:31-end
Track 16: 2:20-3:35

Dartmoor Theme:
Track 1:
2:08-2:29
3:15-end
Track 3:
1:01-1:19
1:43-1:56
Track 5: 2:21-2:34
Track 6:
2:28-2:39
3:56-4:25
Track 16
3:35-3:59
4:21-4:46

Narracotts Theme (Farm Work):
Track 1:
1:34-1:59
2:57-3:06
Track 4:
2:05-2:28
2:50-3:10
Track 5: 2:54-3:18
Track 6:
0:00-1:29
2:12-2:28
2:41-3:31
Track 16:
0:00-0:18
4:00-4:21

Playful Horse:
Track 2: 0:00-1:35
Track 4: 0:43-1:56
Track 16: 0:19-2:20

War Theme:
Track 7: 2:30-end
Track 8:
0:03-0:28
1:51-2:08
Track 11: 1:01-1:16
Track 13: 2:43-3:06
Track 15: 4:25-end

Joey’s New Friends Theme:
Track 10: 0:00-0:51
Track 15: 1:19-1:58

© -Mikko Ojala-

Ars superior est vita hominum.

 

"We pop out and come into the world and music is there. We didn't invent it - it's all organised in the atmosphere by divinity or whatever. It's a miracle." - John Williams-

 

I think music is a stream of some kind. It could be blood. It could be water. It could be ether. Whatever it is it seems to be a living, organic force that’s in motion, that serves humanity and is part of humanity and part of what describes us as humans. We sing, play, dance, all the things that we do. And there is a vibrant and great literature we have been given. ... As musicians, we join the stream. We swim in the stream with all the other millions of music makers. It’s a life force, a strong one, surrounding us and we are part of it. -John Williams-


#2 Josh500

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 07:32 AM

Wow, great job! :thumbup:

As I have not seen the film yet my thematic speculation is exactly that, more of my own impression of what these musical ideas seem to represent dramatically to me on the album. Also similarly all guesses concerning the dramaturgy of the music are my own based on what I have heard about the film and the music.


I would think until we know for certain what any theme represents, we should refer to them as Theme A, B, C and so on (followed by the track times where the most clear and/or powerful statement is heard), to avoid attaching too much meaning to the themes, which might later prove to be wrong. For example, I wouldn't want a theme that we have been calling "Playful Horse" to have an entirely different meaning later on; perhaps it represents a minor character? But then, this is a small complaint; otherwise, very well done indeed, Mikko! :)

#3 Incanus

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 07:38 AM

It is much easier to grasp and diffrentiate the themes if you assign them names. It was done for the purpose of clarity in the analysis. As I say in there they might represent something else entirely in the film than what I have said they do here but once I know their exact dramatic purpose, I will change the analysis accordingly.

I find naming themes A, B, C etc. to be rather bland and colourless just to be safe and ambiguous before the film is released. :P

Ars superior est vita hominum.

 

"We pop out and come into the world and music is there. We didn't invent it - it's all organised in the atmosphere by divinity or whatever. It's a miracle." - John Williams-

 

I think music is a stream of some kind. It could be blood. It could be water. It could be ether. Whatever it is it seems to be a living, organic force that’s in motion, that serves humanity and is part of humanity and part of what describes us as humans. We sing, play, dance, all the things that we do. And there is a vibrant and great literature we have been given. ... As musicians, we join the stream. We swim in the stream with all the other millions of music makers. It’s a life force, a strong one, surrounding us and we are part of it. -John Williams-


#4 Josh500

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 07:47 AM

I find naming themes A, B, C etc. to be rather bland and colourless just to be safe and ambiguous before the film is released. :P


Well, you might be right there, but I believe this is done in any "scientific" reports or analyses, if there are unknown factors: Theme A, B, C or Melody A, B, C, or Specimen A, B, C, etc. etc. You don't just speculate and attach them random names based on "gut feeling."

But again, it's no biggie. Something I just wanted to throw out there. :)

#5 tannhauser

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 08:04 AM

Wonderful analysis Incanus, thanks. It all makes more sense now.
Oh, War Horse is great! - John Williams

#6 king mark

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 08:17 AM

I think the "Friendship theme" is only an extended variation of the "Dartmoor theme" and essentially the "B section" of the Main Bonding Theme.

If Williams had made a concert version it would all be in the same track

#7 Incanus

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 08:25 AM

I think the "Friendship theme" is only a variation of the "Dartmoor theme" and essentially the "B section" of the Main Bonding Theme

If Williams had made a concert version it would all be in the same track

It very well could be. There is also interconnectivity between the themes that many, even more musically knowledgeable like e.g. Marcus, have noted so it is no wonder the three ideas The Bonding Theme, The B section (what I call Friendship Theme) and Dartmoor Theme are just parts of a longer melodic phrase or thematic family.

Ars superior est vita hominum.

 

"We pop out and come into the world and music is there. We didn't invent it - it's all organised in the atmosphere by divinity or whatever. It's a miracle." - John Williams-

 

I think music is a stream of some kind. It could be blood. It could be water. It could be ether. Whatever it is it seems to be a living, organic force that’s in motion, that serves humanity and is part of humanity and part of what describes us as humans. We sing, play, dance, all the things that we do. And there is a vibrant and great literature we have been given. ... As musicians, we join the stream. We swim in the stream with all the other millions of music makers. It’s a life force, a strong one, surrounding us and we are part of it. -John Williams-


#8 king mark

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 08:28 AM

it makes sense that Williams might have developed the Dartmoor theme into the Friendship theme to place at the Finale of the movie, to recapitulate ideas early in the score

#9 Percival

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 09:03 AM

Great review, Incanus. It really helps my understanding of the music.

I'm one of the detrators of the Celtic stylings ("And then there are the somewhat maligned Celtic music influences, the detractors indignant that such musical ideas should be present in music that should depict Englishness, since Celtic music apparently shares very few commonalities with English music but in the score, to the layman’s ears, this Celtic sound enhances the time and place quite strongly, lending the music further lyricism and warmth.") and I still hold that his use of it was a HUGE mis-step. It doesn't help set time and place in my opinion. Sense of place is such an important thing, and it just jars, really, REALLY badly, to hear the twiddly-diddly-di-doh themes which immediately bring to mind heather mountains in Scotland or peat bogs in Ireland, not the rough moors of Devon. It's like using mariachi music for action set in Washington DC - just doesn't fit. It's lazy. I didn't mention before because I didn't want to seem too much of a nay-sayer, but I found the obvious Americana of some of the themse odd too - bringing to mind sudden images of Monument Valley and wide open cowboy country. I realise it's hard judging the score alone when it has been composed specifically to fit to the film images, and that I will probably have a different reaction when seeing the film and hearing the music together. However, when he gets it right he soars (I adore the Vaughan Williams-ness of some parts, just divine and bang on for setting time and place); that's what makes the mis-steps so hard to take.

#10 king mark

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 09:13 AM

Imagine if your a classical elitist that hates Williams AND a celtic music detractor.

#11 Incanus

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 09:15 AM

Yes for those who know to diffrentiate between these idioms with ease it might be a larger distraction and a blemish on the score than to the so called average listener.

And I do address this and mention Williams' Americana influences as they are quite obvious. The certain expansiveness of the music could well be used to describe the open spaces in America as well. Funny you should mention cowboys since I listened to this CD with a friend of mine who noted the same about the style of some of the music, thinking of Westerns.

Ars superior est vita hominum.

 

"We pop out and come into the world and music is there. We didn't invent it - it's all organised in the atmosphere by divinity or whatever. It's a miracle." - John Williams-

 

I think music is a stream of some kind. It could be blood. It could be water. It could be ether. Whatever it is it seems to be a living, organic force that’s in motion, that serves humanity and is part of humanity and part of what describes us as humans. We sing, play, dance, all the things that we do. And there is a vibrant and great literature we have been given. ... As musicians, we join the stream. We swim in the stream with all the other millions of music makers. It’s a life force, a strong one, surrounding us and we are part of it. -John Williams-


#12 TownerFan

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 09:27 AM

Beautiful review/analysis Mikko. Well done!

I hope I'll find soon the time to write my own.

#13 Josh500

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 09:28 AM


I'm one of the detrators of the Celtic stylings ("And then there are the somewhat maligned Celtic music influences, the detractors indignant that such musical ideas should be present in music that should depict Englishness, since Celtic music apparently shares very few commonalities with English music but in the score, to the layman’s ears, this Celtic sound enhances the time and place quite strongly, lending the music further lyricism and warmth.") and I still hold that his use of it was a HUGE mis-step. It doesn't help set time and place in my opinion. Sense of place is such an important thing, and it just jars, really, REALLY badly, to hear the twiddly-diddly-di-doh themes which immediately bring to mind heather mountains in Scotland or peat bogs in Ireland, not the rough moors of Devon. It's like using mariachi music for action set in Washington DC - just doesn't fit. It's lazy. I didn't mention before because I didn't want to seem too much of a nay-sayer, but I found the obvious Americana of some of the themse odd too - bringing to mind sudden images of Monument Valley and wide open cowboy country. I realise it's hard judging the score alone when it has been composed specifically to fit to the film images, and that I will probably have a different reaction when seeing the film and hearing the music together. However, when he gets it right he soars (I adore the Vaughan Williams-ness of some parts, just divine and bang on for setting time and place); that's what makes the mis-steps so hard to take.



Well, for so-called "experts" on any number of things, many many things must be jarring, and the Celtic influence in the music is the last of them, I'd say.

Imagine, in the audience you have an expert on horses, an expert on WWI, an expert on England in the 1910s, an expert on English dialects of that period, an expert on English costumes and clothes of that period, etc. etc. They would all see MANY things that are jarring to them, I'm sure--but NOT to the average movie goer.

So again, I say, it's really no big deal. The important thing is that the movie tells a good story in a creative and original way!

#14 JamieC

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 02:49 PM

Just listening to HP3 score and am reminded of the use of the 'English' sound in the track 'A Window to the Past' The following will most likely never happen, so it's pure wishlist stuff on my part, but if a movie adaptation of the marvellous novel 'The Box of Delights' ever gets produced then JW would be a terrific composer for that.
I work as a writer. War Films, out as an ebook now from Virgin Books ! Oct. 2013: The Films of Pixar Animation Studio (Kamera Books) 2014: Bodies in Heroic Motion: The Cinema of James Cameron (Columbia University Press/Wallflower Press)

#15 Jay

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 03:01 PM

I think the "Friendship theme" is only an extended variation of the "Dartmoor theme" and essentially the "B section" of the Main Bonding Theme.

If Williams had made a concert version it would all be in the same track


I dunno what you mean by extended variation of the Dartmoor Theme, but I see what you mean by it being the B Section of the Main (Bonding) Theme, as all 3 of the times it appears on the OST are IMMEDIATELY after the Main (Bonding) Theme. However, since it only appears in the final 3 tracks and not any of the first 6, perhaps it is better referred to as something like the Reunion Theme

#16 SF1_freeze

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 03:11 PM

Great analysis Incanus, a very interesting read... Although i have alternate theme names, but it is of course all only speculation till we see the movie:


I would call the themes as follows (Don't forget, it is all speculation and we could call it theme A,B,C.. too):

1) Dartmoor Theme (Starts "Dartmoor, 1912")
[It is you Nature Theme ; i would just call it Dartmoor Theme as it is the most prominent theme in the track title Dartmoor so it may stand for the hill landscape of Dartmoor itself and not necessarily for general nature]

2) Celtic Theme (Appears almost everywhere, for example it starts "Plowing" and "Homecoming")
[That's your Narracotts Theme; it may very well be a theme for the villagers or farmers or just for the culture]

3) Scenery Theme / Secondary Dartmoor Theme ( Most beautiful theme besides the Bonding Theme, at 2:08 in "Dartmoor, 1912" or 3:35 in "The Homecoming" )
[Your Dartmoor Theme, This theme is much more lush and beautiful than the main Dartmoor Theme and therefore i called it Scenery Theme as it probably describes the specific sunbathed scenery rather than the general hilly landscape but it may also be the theme for Alfred himself]

4) Bonding Theme (Theme from the trailer, appears most extensively in "The Reunion" )
[Here we agree ;), It's the Main Theme]

5) Training Theme (Lighthearted theme for Joey and Alfred, In "Learning the Call" at 0:52)
[ Your Playful Horse Theme]

6) War Theme (In "Going to War", "Pulling the Cannon", "No Man's Land" and at the end of "Finale")
[War Horse Theme, As this theme isn't the main theme for the score the title of the film sounds strange for it, i consider War Theme simpler and more effective]

7) Friendship Theme / Emily's Theme (we will only know after the movie but it appears on piano in "Remembering Emily" and in "The Homecoming" at 6:14
[We agree again although it may also be a theme for Emily considering it plays in Remembering Emily]

(Discovery Theme and Joey's new Friend Theme are also themes of course but don't appear very often on CD)


Then there are a number of smaller motifs

-> A motif for the funnier stuff between Joey and Alfred ( Bringing Joey Home) [I think you are right; it could be an early version of the Training Theme / Playful Horse Theme]
-> There is another melody/motif for Joey's new Friends (starting 1:43 in the corresponding track)
-> We also have a rythmic war motif in "Desertion, No Man's Land"
-> There is some kind of motif for the cannon
-> There is a beautiful small and very short declining motif played two times right at the beginning of "Learning the Call" with hopefully some unreleased statements

#17 Jay

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 03:17 PM

I agree that the "War Theme" makes more sense as a name than the "War Horse Theme", cause it can sound confusing, like you're talking about a main theme

Can you give timestamps for these please?

-> We also have a rythmic war motif in "Desertion, No Man's Land"
-> There is some kind of motif for the cannon


I assume this:

-> There is a melody/motif for Joey's new Friends

is what Incanus calls "Joey's New Friends Theme"

#18 Stefancos

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 03:20 PM

Great review, Incanus. It really helps my understanding of the music.

I'm one of the detrators of the Celtic stylings ("And then there are the somewhat maligned Celtic music influences, the detractors indignant that such musical ideas should be present in music that should depict Englishness, since Celtic music apparently shares very few commonalities with English music but in the score, to the layman’s ears, this Celtic sound enhances the time and place quite strongly, lending the music further lyricism and warmth.") and I still hold that his use of it was a HUGE mis-step. It doesn't help set time and place in my opinion. Sense of place is such an important thing, and it just jars, really, REALLY badly, to hear the twiddly-diddly-di-doh themes which immediately bring to mind heather mountains in Scotland or peat bogs in Ireland, not the rough moors of Devon. It's like using mariachi music for action set in Washington DC - just doesn't fit. It's lazy. I didn't mention before because I didn't want to seem too much of a nay-sayer, but I found the obvious Americana of some of the themse odd too - bringing to mind sudden images of Monument Valley and wide open cowboy country. I realise it's hard judging the score alone when it has been composed specifically to fit to the film images, and that I will probably have a different reaction when seeing the film and hearing the music together. However, when he gets it right he soars (I adore the Vaughan Williams-ness of some parts, just divine and bang on for setting time and place); that's what makes the mis-steps so hard to take.


One could have similar issues with Tintin, with John Williams doing European flavoured music (whatever the hell that is).

TPMSig_zps4899d3db.jpg


#19 Jay

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 03:25 PM

I took Incanus' list of themes in the main post and sorted them by track #

Track 1
0:00-0:54 Nature Theme
1:34-1:59 Narracotts Theme (Farm Work)
2:08-2:29 Dartmoor Theme
2:57-3:06 Narracotts Theme (Farm Work)
3:15-end Dartmoor Theme

Track 2
0:00-1:35 Playful Horse
2:52-3:07 Nature Theme

Track 3
1:01-1:19 Dartmoor Theme
1:43-1:56 Dartmoor Theme
2:16-2:40 The Discovery Theme
3:18-3:49 The Main Theme (Bonding Theme)

Track 4
0:29-0:42 The Main Theme (Bonding Theme)
0:43-1:56 Playful Horse
2:05-2:28 Narracotts Theme (Farm Work)
2:50-3:10 Narracotts Theme (Farm Work)

Track 5
0:32-0:58 Nature Theme
2:21-2:34 Dartmoor Theme
2:54-3:18 Narracotts Theme (Farm Work)

Track 6
0:00-1:29 Narracotts Theme (Farm Work)
2:02-2:12 The Main Theme (Bonding Theme)
2:12-2:28 Narracotts Theme (Farm Work)
2:28-2:39 Dartmoor Theme
2:41-3:31 Narracotts Theme (Farm Work)
3:33-3:56 The Main Theme (Bonding Theme)
3:56-4:25 Dartmoor Theme

Track 7
2:08-2:30 The Main Theme (Bonding Theme)
2:30-end War Horse

Track 8
0:03-0:28 War Horse
1:51-2:08 War Horse

Track 9

Track 10
0:00-0:51 Joey’s New Friends Theme

Track 11
1:01-1:16 War Horse

Track 12

Track 13
2:43-3:06 War Horse

Track 14
0:00-0:34 The Discovery Theme
0:37-1:07 The Main Theme (Bonding Theme)
2:18-3:04 The Main Theme (Bonding Theme)
3:05-end The Friendship Theme

Track 15
0:10-0:45 The Main Theme (Bonding Theme)
1:19-1:58 Joey’s New Friends Theme
1:58-2:07 The Main Theme (Bonding Theme)
2:08-3:45 The Friendship Theme
3:46-4:24 The Main Theme (Bonding Theme)
4:25-end War Horse

Track 16
0:00-0:18 Narracotts Theme (Farm Work)
0:19-2:20 Playful Horse
2:20-3:35 Nature Theme
3:35-3:59 Dartmoor Theme
4:00-4:21 Narracotts Theme (Farm Work)
4:21-4:46 Dartmoor Theme
5:28-6:17 The Main Theme (Bonding Theme)
6:17-7:19 The Friendship Theme

#20 Stefancos

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 03:28 PM

Just listening to HP3 score and am reminded of the use of the 'English' sound in the track 'A Window to the Past' The following will most likely never happen, so it's pure wishlist stuff on my part, but if a movie adaptation of the marvellous novel 'The Box of Delights' ever gets produced then JW would be a terrific composer for that.



Yes one of the themes seems like a more sped up version of Window To The Past.

TPMSig_zps4899d3db.jpg


#21 SF1_freeze

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 03:33 PM

I agree that the "War Theme" makes more sense as a name than the "War Horse Theme", cause it can sound confusing, like you're talking about a main theme

Can you give timestamps for these please?

-> We also have a rythmic war motif in "Desertion, No Man's Land"
-> There is some kind of motif for the cannon


I assume this:

-> There is a melody/motif for Joey's new Friends

is what Incanus calls "Joey's New Friends Theme"



Rythmic War motif, it is not completely the same in both tracks, more a variation:
Desertion (0:52, 0:54, 1:08)
No Man's Land (for example on the strings at 1:58, 2:00, 2:03, ..., 2:22, 2:24,...etc 2:48, 2:53)

The rythmic motif in the cannon track appears all the time in the background (first at 0:00 till 0:06), then in a slight variation from (1:39 till 1:44)


edited, i missed a theme which Incanus describes as "Joey's new friends theme" and appears in track 10 and track 15

#22 Jay

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 03:35 PM

But as Incanus points out, it appears twice:

Joey’s New Friends Theme:
Track 10: 0:00-0:51
Track 15: 1:19-1:58



#23 SF1_freeze

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 03:40 PM

Surprising, i missed a theme in the score. I meant another melody/motif which is for me even better than this one

I meant the wonderful motif starting at 1:43 till the end in track 10 which gets repeated 3 to four times but just in this track

#24 filmmusic

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 03:42 PM

Great job Incanus! ;)
one point though:
in track 8 at 0.03-0.28, it's not the War Horse theme. We hear a trumpet melody, but it's not the theme that appears in other places as you pointed out.
I don't know if this is mentioned before, I'm a bit confused with the track names and numbers etc..

Here I notaded the themes (except for 2) in which you can see some similarities. (not all, just some obvious on first reading)
Again, don't get me wrong. I don't mean that all of these are conscious but show that Williams uses a certain language with certain melodic motifs, contours etc..

(all themes are in C, and in some renditions the rhythmic values might be more free than notated here)

You can see the similarities bewteen the Main theme and the Dartmoor theme (which incorpolates notes to fill in the intervals of the Main Theme)
what you see in green, is a motif that Williams uses a lot in the construction of his themes: down a major 2nd + down a minor third.
This motif is inverted, retrograded, magnified (in nature theme) etc.

Posted Image
May the Fourth be with us and A NEW HOPE for the original trilogy on Bluray!

#25 Tom

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 04:59 PM

On the issue of whether certain kinds of music are appropriate/inappropriate, one should be consistent. For instance, any orchestral soundtrack would be de facto inappropriate for a place/period where orchestral music does not/did not exist, e.g. any of the biblical epics, medieval films, and to some extent any non-european/american setting, though the latter is arguable. Obviously, I would conclude such soundtracks are not inappropriate, so why nitpick on a certain English location. It is a movie aimed at an international audience.

#26 Incanus

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 05:32 PM

Great job Incanus! ;)
one point though:
in track 8 at 0.03-0.28, it's not the War Horse theme. We hear a trumpet melody, but it's not the theme that appears in other places as you pointed out.
I don't know if this is mentioned before, I'm a bit confused with the track names and numbers etc..

Here I notaded the themes (except for 2) in which you can see some similarities. (not all, just some obvious on first reading)
Again, don't get me wrong. I don't mean that all of these are conscious but show that Williams uses a certain language with certain melodic motifs, contours etc..

(all themes are in C, and in some renditions the rhythmic values might be more free than notated here)

You can see the similarities bewteen the Main theme and the Dartmoor theme (which incorpolates notes to fill in the intervals of the Main Theme)
what you see in green, is a motif that Williams uses a lot in the construction of his themes: down a major 2nd + down a minor third.
This motif is inverted, retrograded, magnified (in nature theme) etc.

Posted Image

Wonderful job with pointing out the similarities and indeed musical ties between different themes!

I do not know if it makes musical theory sense but what I was thinking when talking about the War Horse trumpet theme on track 8 is to my ears very much related to that theme hence I say a variation derived from the War Horse Theme. Is there a connection musically in anything but style there? I will of course correct the section accordingly.

And yes I know the War Horse Theme should perhaps be changed to plain War Theme to avoid confusion with the main theme as you Jason and SF1 freeze have suggested. To me it just suggested the war horse persona of the horse Joey goes to war. I do not know yet if it is a general theme for the war or just for Joey himself.

Great feedback and discussion guys. And thank you for your kind words. :)

Ars superior est vita hominum.

 

"We pop out and come into the world and music is there. We didn't invent it - it's all organised in the atmosphere by divinity or whatever. It's a miracle." - John Williams-

 

I think music is a stream of some kind. It could be blood. It could be water. It could be ether. Whatever it is it seems to be a living, organic force that’s in motion, that serves humanity and is part of humanity and part of what describes us as humans. We sing, play, dance, all the things that we do. And there is a vibrant and great literature we have been given. ... As musicians, we join the stream. We swim in the stream with all the other millions of music makers. It’s a life force, a strong one, surrounding us and we are part of it. -John Williams-


#27 crocodile

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 05:49 PM

While not Incanus' finest hour, his technical facility is still at display. It's just doesn't seem to have the fire of his early works. He obviously doesn't care as much as he used to and is going through the motions (never thought I'd say that). Over-cluttered structure overwhelms the emotion. He's still doing better job than most of his contemporaries though, even at his age. Recommended to his most ardent fans. 3,5 stars

;)

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#28 Incanus

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 05:51 PM

:lol:

It took about the hours of a normal working day to write. Deadlines are a bitch and I know it shows. Who knows how much more fire I would have ended up kindling in my words if I had done it with more leisurely pace. But I did not track any Clemmensen in to fill up some spots when time was growing short. :P

Ars superior est vita hominum.

 

"We pop out and come into the world and music is there. We didn't invent it - it's all organised in the atmosphere by divinity or whatever. It's a miracle." - John Williams-

 

I think music is a stream of some kind. It could be blood. It could be water. It could be ether. Whatever it is it seems to be a living, organic force that’s in motion, that serves humanity and is part of humanity and part of what describes us as humans. We sing, play, dance, all the things that we do. And there is a vibrant and great literature we have been given. ... As musicians, we join the stream. We swim in the stream with all the other millions of music makers. It’s a life force, a strong one, surrounding us and we are part of it. -John Williams-


#29 NickTintin

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 05:51 PM

Y'a know, I'm a big fan of just calling it the Bonding theme. It just evokes that feeling you get when everything is working as it should. You feel yourself going forward and your not only bonding with individuals, but places and perhaps even things. From what I gather about the story, it too is a lot about living life in such uncertain times, but still wanting to persevere into the future. The music is outstanding.

#30 crocodile

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 05:55 PM

:lol:

It took about the hours of a normal working day to write. Deadlines are a bitch and I know it shows. Who knows how much more fire I would have ended up kindling in my words if I had done it with more leisurely pace. But I did not track any Clemmensen in to fill up some spots when time was growing short. :P

They were writing Kingdom of the Crystal Skull for at least 14 years, you know. Let's face it, you're done! ;)

Speaking of Clemmensen, I'm sure he's ghost-written some paragraphs. Either this or you're a stinking plagiarist!

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#31 Incanus

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 06:05 PM


:lol:

It took about the hours of a normal working day to write. Deadlines are a bitch and I know it shows. Who knows how much more fire I would have ended up kindling in my words if I had done it with more leisurely pace. But I did not track any Clemmensen in to fill up some spots when time was growing short. :P

They were writing Kingdom of the Crystal Skull for at least 14 years, you know. Let's face it, you're done! ;)

Speaking of Clemmensen, I'm sure he's ghost-written some paragraphs. Either this or you're a stinking plagiarist!

Karol

No no I would not stoop to that! And anyways with the emergence of BloodBoal I'm history. His review for Tintin will obliterate me.

Ars superior est vita hominum.

 

"We pop out and come into the world and music is there. We didn't invent it - it's all organised in the atmosphere by divinity or whatever. It's a miracle." - John Williams-

 

I think music is a stream of some kind. It could be blood. It could be water. It could be ether. Whatever it is it seems to be a living, organic force that’s in motion, that serves humanity and is part of humanity and part of what describes us as humans. We sing, play, dance, all the things that we do. And there is a vibrant and great literature we have been given. ... As musicians, we join the stream. We swim in the stream with all the other millions of music makers. It’s a life force, a strong one, surrounding us and we are part of it. -John Williams-


#32 crocodile

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 06:07 PM

I can't write myself, of course, so I'll be reviewing the reviews!

Which is actually a great idea for a post-post-modern blog. ;)

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"Modern, serious music has become embroiled in an intellectual discussion that has no place in music. Certainly, the great composer of the past were geniuses and used their intellect, but only to serve their emotions and guide their craft. Not to dictate to them what they should or shouldn't write" - Michael Kamen, 1995

#33 Jay

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 06:07 PM

:lol:

It took about the hours of a normal working day to write. Deadlines are a bitch and I know it shows. Who knows how much more fire I would have ended up kindling in my words if I had done it with more leisurely pace. But I did not track any Clemmensen in to fill up some spots when time was growing short. :P


Well free free to continually revise and update the main post as you wish! Thanks for getting a review ready for the main page as quickly as you did!

#34 Incanus

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 06:14 PM


:lol:

It took about the hours of a normal working day to write. Deadlines are a bitch and I know it shows. Who knows how much more fire I would have ended up kindling in my words if I had done it with more leisurely pace. But I did not track any Clemmensen in to fill up some spots when time was growing short. :P


Well free free to continually revise and update the main post as you wish! Thanks for getting a review ready for the main page as quickly as you did!

It was a pleasure to write, believe me. Actually the good people of this MB provide great suggestions and observations that I will include in the revision of the analysis/review. And I am just hoping that this piece turned out OK despite the hectic deadline, which actually motivated me a lot. Also it helped me to focus my thoughts on the subject, including parsing the themes. :)

Btw I usually edit my analyses incessantly anyway, always finding something to add or revise or omit. :P


And I have to say I can't get enough of this music. There is such a lovely musical universe in War Horse, the album having a very strong story arc. The general sunny and lyrical atmosphere of the opening half, then the gruelling and haunting middle section and finally the return to the peaceful and luminous music of the beginning, the music now a bit more mature and wiser, echoing warm feelings of safety and home. It is a rare score that fills you up with such positive feel through the entire listen.

Ars superior est vita hominum.

 

"We pop out and come into the world and music is there. We didn't invent it - it's all organised in the atmosphere by divinity or whatever. It's a miracle." - John Williams-

 

I think music is a stream of some kind. It could be blood. It could be water. It could be ether. Whatever it is it seems to be a living, organic force that’s in motion, that serves humanity and is part of humanity and part of what describes us as humans. We sing, play, dance, all the things that we do. And there is a vibrant and great literature we have been given. ... As musicians, we join the stream. We swim in the stream with all the other millions of music makers. It’s a life force, a strong one, surrounding us and we are part of it. -John Williams-


#35 Blumen Cohlsman

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 07:03 PM

Incanus,

Slightly off topic.

I think I now know why I read through your over-long posts on this message board. Most other posts that length I just skim through, but yours, I read word for word, even if I think you've gone off the deep end with what you're actually saying.

Your writing is soothing.

Regards,
Tingly Blume

#36 filmmusic

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 07:51 PM


I do not know if it makes musical theory sense but what I was thinking when talking about the War Horse trumpet theme on track 8 is to my ears very much related to that theme hence I say a variation derived from the War Horse Theme. Is there a connection musically in anything but style there? I will of course correct the section accordingly.



well, the theme in ALL the places you pointed out (except for the start of track 8), is the one I notated. It's a complete theme, actually a "period" in musical language.
in some cases only the first half of it is heard.

In the start of track 8 it is something else.. I wouldn't call it variation of the war horse theme. Of course it has some rhytmic elements mostly from the other, but it's something different..Like a fanfaric development or something.

here, you can compare it:
(while the War theme is based on 3rds -although it has a couple of 4ths and 5ths-, this is strictly based on 4ths and 5ths.)
rhythmic values are approximate

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May the Fourth be with us and A NEW HOPE for the original trilogy on Bluray!

#37 publicist

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 07:54 PM

Post Edited - see here

:whistle:
You wouldn't see a subtle plan if it painted itself purple and danced naked on top of a harpsichord, singing "Subtle Plans Are Here Again."

#38 Quintus

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 07:59 PM

Once again, sterling work from the man with the Grey Pilgrim avatar.

#39 Incanus

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 08:21 PM

OK the name of the War Horse Theme changed to War Theme to avoid confusion and better diffrentiate it from the main theme.

Ars superior est vita hominum.

 

"We pop out and come into the world and music is there. We didn't invent it - it's all organised in the atmosphere by divinity or whatever. It's a miracle." - John Williams-

 

I think music is a stream of some kind. It could be blood. It could be water. It could be ether. Whatever it is it seems to be a living, organic force that’s in motion, that serves humanity and is part of humanity and part of what describes us as humans. We sing, play, dance, all the things that we do. And there is a vibrant and great literature we have been given. ... As musicians, we join the stream. We swim in the stream with all the other millions of music makers. It’s a life force, a strong one, surrounding us and we are part of it. -John Williams-


#40 Jay

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 08:51 PM

Incanus,

Slightly off topic.

I think I now know why I read through your over-long posts on this message board. Most other posts that length I just skim through, but yours, I read word for word, even if I think you've gone off the deep end with what you're actually saying.

Your writing is soothing.

Regards,
Tingly Blume


+1,000,000





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